Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford (D-Nev.) has been investigating Republican activists who served as an alternate slate of electors in the 2020 presidential election over concerns of voter fraud in the state.
According to Politico, investigators from the AG’s office have been quietly interrogating witnesses about the plan, where conservatives in support of President Trump’s re-election campaign vowed to cast their electoral votes for Trump, despite Joe Biden apparently winning the state. Investigators have also pursued documents that were prepared by the alternate electors.
The investigation by Ford, which had previously not been made public, is one of several attempts to suppress pro-Trump electors in swing states where the 2020 results led to controversy and widespread accusations of voter fraud. A similar investigation is underway in Arizona, and alternate electors in Georgia and Michigan are facing criminal charges.
The six Republicans who pledged themselves to support President Trump in 2020 include Michael McDonald, the chairman of the Nevada Republican Party. They signed certificates on December 14th, 2020 declaring that they were the state’s official representatives to the Electoral College.
The investigation taking place is a direct contradiction of Ford’s own public statements, with the Democratic AG saying as recently as May that he believed no criminal charges were likely.
“As you all know, I have been silent on Nevada’s fake electors, except to say that the matter was on our radar,” said Ford while testifying before the state legislature. “With it on our radar, we ascertained that current state statutes did not directly address the conduct in question — to the dismay of some, and I’m sure, to the delight of others.”
At the time, Ford instead suggested a measure to forbid people from serving as alternate electors. The bill passed in the state’s Democrat-controlled legislature, but was vetoed by Governor Joe Lombardo (R-Nev.).
Ford then changed his mind and backtracked on his previous statements, saying in September that “I’ve never said that we’re not going to prosecute. It is not that I’ve said that I can do nothing. What I have said, and I’ve been precise with my wording on purpose, is we don’t have statutes in this state that directly address the issue.”
The practice of arranging an alternate slate of presidential electors, while controversial and uncommon, is not illegal. Such an action was taken in the 1960 presidential election in the state of Hawaii, after then-Senator John F. Kennedy narrowly won the state over then-Vice President Richard Nixon. Like 2020, the 1960 election was also impacted by claims of voter fraud and election interference.